Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.
Up until that moment I never knew my wish would ever come true, that I would finally leave the place that I’d called home for the last twenty-two years and make my way to a land that had, for so long, represented a new life for me, a new beginning.
Yet why was I crying as I looked out the window of the 747 as it barreled through the ethereal clouds over the Pacific Ocean?
The man next to me, who spoke no English, peered at me curiously as I wiped away the tears and leaned back against my seat. I felt small within it, as if it were threatening to engulf me and make me disappear forever, just as I would have wanted it to do.
You see, I’d never expected things to turn out this way.
At least not this way – not when a three-month old baby lay sleeping in his crib where I had last left him, not knowing that the mother who’d held him from the very first day he’d been born and never once left his side for even one night, was never coming back for him.
It tore my heart into many pieces then, having to turn away from him for that final time for I knew that if I turned to look back at him again, I would never have left.
I never should have left.
“You’re tainted now,” my father said as he handed me my airline ticket. “He didn’t want to marry you and now no one will want to marry you either. You’re damaged goods, that’s really what you are now and I’m only doing what’s best for you.”
“You’ll find someone nice over there,” my aunt said with a forced smile as she helped me fold the clothes I was taking with me. Most of them, if not all of them, were her own clothes, all of them winter ones, which weren’t my style at all, but I’d been taught never to say no for when I’d always said no in the past, bad things always happened.
“And when you do,” she added hopefully, “you can come back and take the baby with you for that will be your home now. This place is no longer your home for you’ve shamed the family name. Even your grandmother says so and she can’t even go to her parties like she used to without people asking.”
So I was on a mission now, I thought as I forced myself to look out the window again. I was supposed to find a husband of my own, and that would be my redemption. It would be my fuck-you-I-made-it to all the naysayers who’d told me that I was now damaged goods and that no one would want me – at least no one from the hometown.
For even if they didn’t know the truth then, one day they would know. They would know that I was tainted.
“Success is the best revenge,” I’d read in a fashion magazine once and I knew that I had to embrace it as fiercely as I could, for it was the only thing that I could hold on to now. I was alone, traveling to strange land that I had wanted to escape to for so long, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.
For as fresh hot tears streamed down my cheeks once again, I knew that the only right reason, even if it meant that I never would have been on this 747 all alone, lay sleeping in his crib unaware that at that moment, he, too, was utterly and completely alone.
No, I’d never expected things to turn out this way.